Ranking the 10 best QB/Head Coach duos in NFL history

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Who are the greatest QB/Head Coach combinations in NFL history?

A look at the conference championship games this weekend reveals that all four of the teams involved have top-flight quarterbacks and coaches.

There are many factors that go into winning pro football games and championships. However, it’s rare that teams can win consistently without a coach and a quarterback who are on the same page and form a brilliant partnership.

That’s been a given for the last six decades. In this piece, we look at the 10 best QB-coach combinations of all-time.

10. Fran Tarkenton and Bud Grant, Minnesota Vikings

There was a time that the Vikings were one of the most feared franchises in the NFL. They had a brutal defense and they dominated opponents in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Fran Tarkenton was a game-changing quarterback who confounded opponents with his ability to run, and he also had an exceptional arm. Tarkenton started his career as a rookie quarterback with the expansion Vikings under head coach Norm Van Brocklin, and the Dutchman hated Tarkenton’s tendency to run out of the pocket and play the position in an unconventional manner.

However, Tarkenton and Bud Grant had no such issues. When the Vikings reacquired Tarkenton in 1972, the stoic Viking coach encouraged Tarkenton to keep plays alive with his feet and then fire the ball downfield. Tarkenton threw for 47,003 career yards and 342 touchdowns during his career, and he led the Vikings to three Super Bowl appearances with Grant as head coach.

While the Vikings lost those Super Bowls – as well as a previous Super Bowl with Joe Kapp at quarterback – the Tarkenton-Grant combination was prolific and often spectacular.

Next: One great 49ers duo